The ocean is just large enough to contain the ambition of “Sharkwater”. This beautiful yet horrifying film characterizes the depletion of the world’s shark population as an ecological catastrophe with severe consequences for humanity. Sharks sit atop the nautical food chain and subsist on midlevel ocean life, which in turn feeds on plankton, whose biological processes absorb carbon dioxide. “Sharkwater” argues that the extinction of the shark, a creature whose population has been depleted by 90 percent in the past 30 years, could unbalance the ocean’s ecosystem and accelerate the process of global warming. According to Mr. Stewart, the animal is being eliminated mainly to feed Asian consumers’ craving for shark fin soup, a $300 a bowl status symbol whose popularity is fueled by the common, obviously false belief that sharks don’t get sick. Sharks are harvested by long-line fishing, a technique that stretches fishing line over tens of miles of ocean. Fishermen then hack off the sharks’ fins and dump them in the water to die. I found this part of the film to be especially graphic, because it showed the illegal fisherman catching multiple sharks, cutting off the fins, and just throwing them back in the ocean to bleed to death. I find it kind of sickening how extreme people are willing to go just in order to have a very certain luxury food item. Is having the luxury of shark fin soup really worth a whole species going extinct? Personally, I think it’s just malicious what these fishermen are doing to these sharks. It’s completely inhumane and unjust. This movie made me feel really sad because it’s just torturous what they’re doing to sharks and it makes me sad to see a whole species go extinct just by the hands of us greedy humans.
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